About Me (Aleese)
Aleese grew up straddling Houston suburbs and a ranch in the Texan hill country, where she searched for fairies in mossy ravines and scribbled about mermaids who splashed in spring-fed pools. After winning several national writing awards in her teens, Aleese was invited to a creative writing camp where a mentoring professor from Sarah Lawrence told her that rather than pursuing an MFA, she would find more benefit in “gaining experiences worth writing about.”
So, three months after turning eighteen, Aleese moved from Texas to Tokyo for college. She became fluent in Japanese and equally versed in the awkward cultural mishaps concordant with coming of age in a new culture. She tried her best to follow her mentor’s advice: after a short stint modeling, an internship at the Embassy of Afghanistan, presentations of her ethnographic identity research worldwide, and travel to over twenty-five countries, she became an educator and taught English at one of the oldest private girl’s schools in Japan.
Seven years later, Aleese relocated from Asia to Bristol, England to pursue a Master’s degree in ESL and identity (and, to an embarrassing extent, to relearn English). She was swept up in a haze of anglophilia, and once she discovered she liked the fog and the rain, she didn’t want to leave. When visa issues forced her to repatriate, however, she found an unexpected silver lining: she met the man of her dreams–who promptly whisked her away to Hawaii and Colorado.
It was during this time that Aleese buckled down and returned to her writing craft with fervor. She became a member of two writing groups: M.U.G.S. and Hawaii Writer’s. She attended conferences and workshops, both remotely and in-person. She also began multiple novel projects, inspired by the liminal spaces that she had uncovered (and imagined) in her various homes across the world.
She is adjusting to being land-locked in the mountains by spending copious time in nature, reading, cooking, dabbling in visual arts, and petting her two Hawaiian kittens, Coco and Nuts. She swears she will learn Mandarin soon so she can speak to her husband and her in-laws in their first language, but there are only so many hours in the day (and she has not yet discovered how to apply time-lending magic to her home-brewed kombucha).
Aleese is currently un-agented and preparing a novel length YA fantasy novel (The Undrowning of Waverly Grey) for query. Although firmly entrenched in the YA fantasy genre, she has a smattering of literary short stories that she may, eventually, someday, possibly send out as well.
In her writing, Aleese turns thematically to broken places and broken people—as well as the monsters that have broken them—and seeks out redemption and overcoming, and the softness of a magic that shimmers into nothing when you try to pen it down. She appeals to the wildness of nature and the wildness in people’s hearts, not searching for answers but for awareness, for adventures, and for the enmeshing and obsession-worthy impact of love. She also seeks to uncover the truth about identity and belonging, and the hold that places and people can have over the soul.
She still believes the world is full of magic. Sometimes, it’s just hiding.
LARRY MCMURTY YOUNG WRITER’S SCHOLARSHIP 2004
NATIONAL PROMISING YOUNG WRITER (NCTE) 2003
HOUSTON CHRONICLE SHORT STORY FINALIST 2003
SCHOLASTIC GOLD KEY – REGIONAL 2003
ICU ECWC (University Literary Magazine)